If you’re one of those people who don’t know how to market their stores online, you may want to pay attention to Kae Whitaker. Kae is a social media, branding, and digital marketing expert who teaches business owners how to build their business using e-commerce and building websites. She coaches and trains them on how to use the internet to actually help produce income for their businesses. Kae says you need to have a good understanding of how to make revenue from your efforts online. The best part of the job, Kae shares, is working together with her clients, seeing those light bulbs go off, and seeing them get the results in their business that they’ve been looking for. Kae talks about some of the industries she’s worked in, the strategies they teach, and some case studies about the common mistakes business owners make that they get to fix.
Listen to the podcast here:
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Digital Marketing Strategies To Boost Your Business with Kae Whitaker
I had the good fortune to be joined by Kae Whitaker of KaeWhitaker.com. Kae, thank you so much for being here.
No problem. Thank you for having me.
You are a social media and branding expert. I know it didn’t always start out that way. Let’s go back in time a little bit. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Houston, Texas.
What did your parents do?
My mother was a single mother. She worked and went to school most of the time while I was young. My father was away. I’m not real sure what he did, but my mom raised us with the help of my grandmother. It was myself and my little brother.
You learned your work ethic from a mom working her butt off to take care of you guys. Then Houston, Texas, being raised by supermom. I know you haven’t always been a social media educator for entrepreneurs and business owners, how did you become who you are?
I started the company about four years ago and when I started I was in marketing in corporate retail. I was a regional marketing director for a company and I was traveling across the State building stores and helping those managers in the stores market their stores. When I came out of that industry and started my own business, I started teaching business owners what I knew, but with the element of website and e-commerce and things of that nature. We were doing a lot of done-for-you services, building websites, setting up stores, but what I realized is that people did not know how to market their stores online.
A function of the company came about when we learned that most business owners would build a store and nothing would happen. I had to start to coach them and train them on how to use the internet to help produce income for their businesses. About a year in, we switched from done-for-you services to straight education where now we only teach and train on how to do those things. In my mind it’s better to understand how to drive the traffic and aesthetically we can do all of those things later. You need to have a good understanding of how to make revenue from your efforts online.
[bctt tweet=”You need to have a good understanding of how to make revenue from your efforts online.” via=”no”]
I’m curious about the journey from done-for-you to educator. Can you go into a little bit more depth on what prompted that and why you like it better?
When we were doing done-for-you services, about 60 to 90 days after websites were built, stores were built, we would get calls from customers saying, “There’s nobody going to the store.” I’m like, “A part of that, what techniques are you using?” We’d ask a lot of questions, “What are you doing to drive traffic?” They’re like, “We don’t know what to do. We thought if we put a website up people would come.” It would then turn around and say, “Let’s sit down and spend some time talking about a strategy to help you actually get customers to your store or your site.” I found a lot more pleasure in doing that. I have a training background. In corporate America I was a trainer and coming into small business, I had no idea what coaching even was to back backup when I came out of corporate America. I didn’t realize that that was a real profession until I started actually working with clients in that capacity, having to train them, training the people that were working for them on what to do.
When I left corporate America, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to do the work. My daughter was two. I wanted to be at home with her. I wanted to change the way I work. I love the work, I just didn’t love the environment that I was working. When I realized that I could do that and still be able to accomplish the personal things that I wanted to do, it’s when we made the shift. Originally, I thought that that wasn’t something that could be monetized and then once I realized that people actually needed it, I realized that it was something that I couldn’t be charged for and that’s where the shift came from.
What do you like best about what you’re doing now?
Being able to take customers from a place where they have no idea what they’re doing and gradually seeing those light bulbs go off. I worked from with solo entrepreneurs where they’re by themselves, they don’t have a big team, to C-level owners where they’ve got teams. Especially like design firms and wedding industry firms where they have teams, but they don’t understand how to market per se, online. Seeing those light bulbs go off and seeing them get the results in their business that they’ve been looking for and the relief that comes after some time with us working together is the best part of the job.
What are some of your favorite industries to work in?
Interior design and the wedding industry. I am not a designer, I am not creative by any good stretch of the imagination, but I love the industry. I love all things wedding. If I could go to a wedding every weekend, I would. I love the decoration. I love design. I love interior design, but I can’t do it. Because I can’t do it, I found a way to help the people that were doing it so I could take advantage of some of those parts of helping them get that done.
I know you’ve had some incredible successes. What are some of the types of results people implementing the strategies that you teach? I know results are not typical. Performance may vary. Past performance, no indication of future success, all disclaimers inserted here. What are some of the types of results that your businesses have seen?
We work with a variance of people, whether they’re by themselves or whether they have teams that are working for them. My goal when I come in is always to set the infrastructure and to help them develop a team so that they’re not working on their own. We’ve got case studies of multiple companies. One that sticks out in particular when I met her, she’s out in Dallas, Texas. She was working by herself in a 600-square foot office and I was able to help her put the infrastructure in place to not only hire a marketing staff but to actually expand her business. She is an interior designer. We doubled her space and was able to add a team of four people to her team so that she can increase her revenue. In a matter of a year, she almost 100% increase in her revenue.
That is an incredible case study. What are some of the most common mistakes you see business owners making that you get to fix?
Most of the time they think that because they have people in place, and this is what I see a lot of times with the companies that have people in place, they multitask those people. For example, if we’re talking marketing, they’ll have someone in place that maybe is responsible for acquisition, meaning they’re responsible for going to find, acquire new leads, but they want them to close the sales as well. A lot of times that will work if they are in a position where they cannot add any additional staff to their team. I always like to tell people, have your people and yourself focused on one thing at a time so that you can perfect that and create a machine versus trying to put all of the workload on one person. A lot of times that is what I see they have one person in place to do this function not knowing that there are several umbrellas up under that particular role that you may need additional help for.
I definitely probably experienced that and seen that as well. What lights you up in the morning? What gets you excited to say, “I can’t wait to go in and fix X?” What’s X?
X is the problem most of the time. We work with a small number of firms. A lot of times they’re on project-based. We meet, they have a project. Wherever we left off, if it’s that time to meet, I’m like, “I can’t wait to see what they’ve done in the last week so I can give them the extra.” There’s always extra and I’ve always got additional stuff for them to do and they don’t know it. I’m the bearer of bad news sometimes when I’m like, “If they can get this done, then I can add what I wanted to add before that they weren’t ready for.” It’s that growth component or some people call it scaling, but it’s always giving additional off of what we’ve done so that I can see them move forward a little bit more.
[bctt tweet=”A lot of times the first place that people get stuck is knowing how to get found.” via=”no”]
You have some awesome giveaways on your website, including one with over 200 hashtags. Talk a little bit about that and how our audience can go get it?
Instagram is probably one of the biggest platforms for creative entrepreneurs. A lot of times the first place that people get stuck is knowing how to get found, especially in these creative industries. We’re using hashtags that are specific to who we are and what we do and we don’t think how our customers think. Hashtags on Instagram are nothing more than keywords. It’s customer-centric. If you’re selling jeans and they are looking for distressed jeans. If you are a wedding planner, they are looking for inspirations for the wedding. They’re probably using hashtags, especially if they got engaged. They’re like, “I said yes.” They’re looking for things that will complement the wedding, but they’re not necessarily looking for your service.
In that list of over 200 hashtags, I prepared a list of hashtags for several different creative industries that are customer-centric, that your customers are using. I do a lot of research as it relates to hashtags and what’s working and what’s popular and what you can use to get the best results. In that list, it’s over 200 of them where you are available to go and download them and start to use them immediately. It’s a fillable PDF. You download it to your computer or your mobile device. If you have Adobe on your mobile device, then you can literally copy and paste them into the comments of your Instagram profile and start to see the engagement, the reach and the growth on your profile increase. You can get that if you go to the website, it’s KaeWhitaker.com/210-free-hashtags and it’s yours for the keeping.
That is an incredible free resource. Kae, you’ve got such an incredible journey. Anything else you want to share that I didn’t think to ask you?
Nothing I could think of, Seth. I think you asked some pretty good questions.
Everybody go to KaeWhitaker.com . I will be getting that resource because that is incredibly valuable. Kae, thank you so much for joining us.
About Kae Whitaker
If it’s your desire to learn from a coach that is in tuned to not only what’s happening online, but offline with you as well, then you’ve found your girl!
Since 2013, when I left my corporate career in sales and marketing, I’ve been using the internet to build and sustain my business. With a family to contribute to, and a 6 figure income to replace, I had to quickly figure out how to make this media monster work in my favor so I could create the comfort for my husband to continue to support my dreams of wanting freedom from the 9-5 misery!
And now I teach media mavens, just like you how to get it done so you can accomplish your own goals!